Jerry M. White 
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Call Me at (404) 452-4738
 

Every two years we as a citizenry are given the opportunity to change the direction of our government. If we don’t like the way people are running things we are allowed to replace them with new people, new representation, and a new hope for our future. It is a system put in place by our founding fathers as they wrote our Constitution and later our Bill of Rights. It is a unique system and one that has served us well. However, in the recent past we have, as a nation, not exercised our opportunity to remove and replace. We have been apathetical and ambivalent towards our voting privilege. Hopefully we will awaken as a citizenry and take our country back from those who are career politicians and seekers of personal fame, riches, and glory. It is an election year. We need to act responsibly or our privilege to remove and replace will be done to our privilege itself. Let’s all wake up and vote. See you at the polls America.

 

Election Year

Our leaf bare trees

Bow to the left or to the right

As the torrential tide

Of rhetoric, self-righteous ribald

Convoluted chaos, and confusion

Blow mightily across our political landscape

It is an election year

We have a great deal to fear

As the opposing camps launch platitudes

And postulations of promise and potential

Who is trustworthy, who is truthful

Who is pragmatic, who is inspirational

The words blow by so quickly

The next podium awaits its protagonist

The next gallery awaits its seeker of support

We confide with one another

But the winds blow hard

We undulate to the rhythm of a prejudiced press

We are tickled by the flood of illusion and half truths

In the end we have but intuition as our guide

In the end we have nothing but hope

Hope that our decisions are wise and well struck

Hope that the victor is ethical and principled

Hope that the victor is truthful and open

The winds blow hard during election seasons

They seem to blow especially hard during this season

So stand strong, stand tall, stand still in the wind

Cast your vote, cast your line

In our polluted political pool

Make your choice

Take your stand in the wind

 

10/21/16

JMW

  

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Memorial Day Blog - 3rd of 3

The fight for freedom began many years before Homer Plessy, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr. became part of the American tapestry. It began as a debate in the House of Representatives in the Congress of the United States in the 1840s. It is here, not at Charleston, South Carolina, that the first shots of the American Civil War were fired. The blood shed began in Congress.

 

There seemed to be no way to alter the events leading to our great Civil War. Two ideologies each held deeply and dearly by the holder. So, inevitably, shots were fired and the war began. Tragic as that is it seemed the only way.

 

Many battles were fought and many men died. No more brutal or bloody battle was fought than at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The three day battle occurred between July 1st and July 3rd, of 1863 remains the largest loss of American lives lost in any battle of any war anywhere. It was the pivotal battle of the entire war. The battle was waged between Union General George Gordon Meade’s 94,000 man Army of the Potomac and Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s 72,000 man Army of Northern Virginia. Its cost in lives was enormous. Almost a full third of all participants became casualties in the epic struggle. It was the signal to the losing Southern Army that the end was indeed near. However, the struggle continued for almost two more years at the cost of many additional lives lost and property ruined.

 

The hallowed ground of Gettysburg was the site of one of the most famous speeches ever given in the history of man. President Abraham Lincoln gave this speech in 2 minutes to inaugurate a National Cemetery at the site. I have included the speech before the next poem because of its significance to our American history. The poem is my feeble attempt to honor, not only those who died at Gettysburg, but all those who fell during our great struggle to free those who were enslaved by a culture dependent on a supply of enslaved man power. 

 

The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

 

Reposed at Gettysburg

 

Reposed within the quiet grove

Drifting from the here and now to then

I listen to the tree frogs and crickets sing

As I remember horrors from the battle’s din

 

I hear the constant fire of muskets

As I lie here this quiet night

I hear the whistle of their discharges

As they make their targeted flight

 

I hear the cries of those unlucky souls

As their limbs seem to break and tear

I remember thinking I was so lucky

And how their outcome seemed so unfair

 

I see the smoke hover over the landscape

Like death harvesting the fallen field

I see young sons and fathers falling

Because their loyalty would not yield

 

I feel the fear of young men charging

Running gallantly up a hill

I feel the cold and chill of knowing

I fight both a blue wave and my will

 

I smell the odor of burnt powder

And the bark bare trees at hand

I smell the odor of burned grey cotton

Once worn and seemed so grand

 

I repose this night under treetops

I rest on this sacred ground

I drift in and out of now and then

And wonder where tomorrow…

I wonder where I’ll be found

 

8/30/09

JMW

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These are only a few words describing the events of June 6th, 1944. It was the largest amphibious landing of men and equipment on hostel ground in history. The invasion included 5,000 ships, 11,000 aircraft, and over 150,000 men. There had been many armadas of forces throughout history attempting to do what was accomplished on this day 71 years ago. The battle of Salamis pitted the Persians against the Greeks in 490 BC. The Greeks were grossly outnumbered but claimed a massive victory. The Persians lost 6,400 men to only 192 Greeks. The Spanish armada in 1588 saw the glorious Spanish fleet defeated by a smaller English fleet and sent home with many of their number at the bottom of the English Channel. There were others but D-Day, June 6th of 1944 was the most ambitious. The efforts of the men involved led the allied forces into fortress Europe, held by Nazi German forces since the late 1930s. This day was the beginning of the end their regime.  

Below is an excerpt from the History Channel page on the events of June 6th, 1944. I can add nothing to the amount of words already describing these events in a way far better than I could in  a blog of my own. The humble poem at the end of the excerpt is mine and I hope it shows the tension and tenacity of the men who stormed the beaches 75 years ago and what they experienced that day. The poem is written through the eyes of an anonymous soldier making his way to the battle ahead.


Although the term D-Day is used routinely as military lingo for the day an operation or event will take place, for many it is also synonymous with June 6, 1944, the day the Allied powers crossed the English Channel and landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, beginning the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi control during World War II. Within three months, the northern part of France would be freed and the invasion force would be preparing to enter Germany, where they would meet up with Soviet forces moving in from the east.

With Hitler’s armies in control of most of mainland Europe, the Allies knew that a successful invasion of the continent was central to winning the war. Hitler knew this too, and was expecting an assault on northwestern Europe in the spring of 1944. He hoped to repel the Allies from the coast with a strong counterattack that would delay future invasion attempts, giving him time to throw the majority of his forces into defeating the Soviet Union in the east. Once that was accomplished, he believed an all-out victory would soon be his.

On the morning of June 5, 1944, U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe gave the go-ahead for Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious military operation in history. On his orders, 6,000 landing craft, ships and other vessels carrying 176,000 troops began to leave England for the trip to France. That night, 822 aircraft filled with parachutists headed for drop zones in Normandy. An additional 13,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover and support for the invasion.

By dawn on June 6, 18,000 parachutists were already on the ground; the land invasions began at 6:30 a.m. The British and Canadians overcame light opposition to capture Gold, Juno and Sword beaches; so did the Americans at Utah. The task was much tougher at Omaha beach, however, where 2,000 troops were lost and it was only through the tenacity and quick-wittedness of troops on the ground that the objective was achieved. By day’s end, 155,000 Allied troops–Americans, British and Canadians–had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches.

For their part, the Germans suffered from confusion in the ranks and the absence of celebrated commander Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, who was away on leave. At first, Hitler, believing that the invasion was a feint designed to distract the Germans from a coming attack north of the Seine River, refused to release nearby divisions to join the counterattack and reinforcements had to be called from further afield, causing delays. He also hesitated in calling for armored divisions to help in the defense. In addition, the Germans were hampered by effective Allied air support, which took out many key bridges and forced the Germans to take long detours, as well as efficient Allied naval support, which helped protect advancing Allied troops.

Though it did not go off exactly as planned, as later claimed by British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery–for example, the Allies were able to land only fractions of the supplies and vehicles they had intended in France–D-Day was a decided success. By the end of June, the Allies had 850,000 men and 150,000 vehicles in Normandy and were poised to continue their march across Europe.

The heroism and bravery displayed by troops from the Allied countries on D-Day has served as inspiration for several films, most famously The Longest Day (1962) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). It was also depicted in the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers (2001).
 

The 6th of June

 The ship rose and fell

At the whim of the sea

Throwing men and equipment

From here to there

But despite the convulsions of the sea

The deck hands and soldiers

Prepared for history

Prepared for battle

Prepared for the worst

Prepared to die

The sea mist washed the deck

It washed every inch of every inch

It washed thoughts of victory and defeat

It washed through the thoughts of family and friends

It washed through every man’s fears

The sea tossed them about with great ease

The Higgins boats awaited alongside for their cargo

One man over then two then three

I watched those I knew descend from the ship

They slipped effortlessly over in the churning sea

The wind slapped garments worn for war

The wind swept the deck with a mist of fear

I wondered what to expect

I had trained, and trained, and trained some more

But the sea didn’t care

It tossed us all to the deck at least once

I was ready to disembark to the Higgins

Awaiting to take me ashore

To an unknown fate from this sea pitched view

The rattle of our big guns thundering

Was heard landing on the beach targets

Of concrete emplacements filled with heavy weapons

All awaiting our arrival and march to the beach

The aircraft whistled their way to the shore

Dropping their fire on the cliffs I could not see

The smoke was dense and the water even more

I was ready, I was able, I was ready to go

My turn came to crawl over the ships edge

To a rope ladder leading to my Higgins

For its journey to hell

The sounds, the smell of gun powder spent

The sight of everyone doing what they knew to do

I was ready, do my job, make a run for the beach

It was easy I told myself

I was ready

We tossed freely from starboard to port

Water swept in making my journey wet

Water everywhere and then some more

The Higgins crept on at the pace of a snail

Get us to shore, please get us to shore

One Higgins then two were hit and on fire

Ours maintained the slow pace of a funeral barge

Slowly we heard the guns subside

The planes continued to fly low and fast over head

The mist, the smoke, the water within

All expected, spoken of, and ruled necessary to suffer

I was ready, as was the man on my right, and my left

I was ready, as the man ahead and the man behind

We churned and burrowed our way to the beach

Then the Higgins door opened to terror

The boat door opened into another world

So harsh, so hopeless, into the relentlessly firing by the enemy

Defending their positions as they said they would

I was ready, one man out, then two, then three

Then the sound of something I can never explain

The sound of my flesh ripping to expose my fear

As I watched my brave friends plow further

As they made their way to the beach by the thousands

Then I felt the mist, smelled the burned powder

Felt the wet clothing and tasted the sea

I fell to the floor of my Higgins boat

I fell, and the world fell silent

I was ready for running across the beach

Now I knew I was ready to die

The mayhem fell silent as I tasted the sea

A taste of death on a Higgins boat near the beach in France

I was prepared and I was gone

 

JMW

6/5/15

 

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Warless Wrold - Memorial Day 2016

Reading is such a joy. My last reading material, just finished in the past couple of days, was a book titled Leatherneck Legends, written by Dick Camp and published through Zenith Press in 2006. It is the account of five of the United States Marine Corp’s old guard. Their carriers were followed from WWI through Vietnam. It is not just a story of them, however, but a story of the men they led, the fights they fought, the heroes that were their privilege to lead, and the Marines that were always by their side. It is an amazing and compelling story of bravery, tragedy, victory, and of loss. It is here hardily endorsed as a book to read if you are the least bit interested in military history. I now have even more respect for my oldest son and what he does. He is a USMC Major who is now serving his fourth tour of duty in the Middle East…Afghanistan this time.

 

The United States Marine Corp is so far removed from what daily lives we live. They are built to be a cohesive unit to instill what is called esprit de corps. The USMC is the best trained fighting machine known to man. They are a unit, they are committed to the safety of their fellow Marines, and have the utmost respect for individuals within their gun sites, and advance. They attack, attack, attack, and never retreat. They are honed to be completely effective in the mission at hand without reservation, without hesitation, and without social reflection. They simply perform the duties that a free world needs to retain its freedom from those who wish to take it away.

 

Why do I write this today, July 7th, 2012?  Maybe I have a July 4th hangover of patriotism or maybe it is the upcoming political season we are entering. I don’t know exactly why. However, I awoke this morning before 5AM knowing that this needed to be written and addressed in some way.

 

We need our Marine Corp because; in the immortal words of Jack Nicholson in the movie A Few Good Men he clearly states a national truth that sometimes, many times, we do not speak of. We need them on that wall of freedom around the free world. There are few who will do it. We need them. Why? Because someone always wants more in the way of territory, prestige, money, power, or whatever else drives those who want to destroy what is in their way of attaining any of those things. Wars are being fought all around the world at this very moment, whenever it is that you will find yourself reading this.

 

The utopian society we have read so much about over the past 50 years of a world without war and peace through appeasement and negotiations will never satisfy the insatiable need to conquer those in the path of despots, of all varieties, all over the world.

 

I have included a poem which first appeared in my first book Moments of Mine: A Collection of Thoughts in Poem, 2009, and has its place today in honor of the decisions which will need to be addressed later today, tomorrow, and as long as there are men who want what another man has.

 

 

Warless World

 

In a blissful world of warless ways

There would be no loss of blood or pain

But in a blissful world without ways of war

There would be no measure of loss or gain

 

The world as we know it was built with blood

By those who aggressively sought to win

It is filled with blood and tears untold

By those defending their homes to the end

 

A world without war would be different indeed

It would be one person, one land, one thought

There would be no change in governmental philosophy

There would be no way change would be bought

 

A world without war would surely be grand

To the wife who called her man brave

But a world without war would be too high priced

For the vanquished, the defeated, the enslaved

 

To resolve the wrongs created by greed

The warless world cannot exist

For the perpetrators of life’s raging wrongs

Would perpetually, permanently, persist

 

The world at war is a balancing blade

Engaging the world’s lands to comprehend

That a world at war is brutally inhumane

So hopefully the wars will never begin

 

Just know that the warless world of appeasement

Is one fought by those with words alone

But war of change and global rearrangement

Is fought by warriors whose skills have been honed

 

4/20/09

JMW

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Motherhood 

 

Mother’s Day is swiftly approaching and I once again find myself exhausted by what I see as the mother’s duties in our families. Of course, I’m unable to speak to the duties of all mothers but I can speak to what I have seen as the duties of the mother in our family. They are extensive and invaluable to the completion of just one day, let alone the seven days of a week, the 30 days of a month, the 365 days of a year, or a lifetime. I want to show you what a normal mother’s day looks like for a mother with a family of five grown children with, what will soon be, ten grandchildren. As I said earlier, it is exhausting to watch.

 

The day begins at 6:45 AM. Not 6:35 or even 6:46 but precisely 6:45 AM. She has her morning coffee waiting for her on her bathroom counter. She showers, brings herself into focus with her morning application of various creams, tonics, and potions, and readies herself for her day which includes a home lunch awaiting her in the kitchen on her way out the door. She will then sit at her desk and staff an 800 bed hospital with the nursing needs for the following days of the week and upcoming weekend. It is exhausting work.

 

This day allows her the opportunity to spend time with her youngest grandchild who is visiting, along with his mom, from their home in Seattle. The mother of the story smiles, plays, and laughs with our cherished visitors from the west coast and bids them a good day until she returns at around 5:30 PM.

 

The day includes text messages from her oldest daughter regarding the difficulties of her laborious last days of a pregnancy with her fifth child and all the traumas of her day as a teacher. Not just any teacher, but a teacher of severely autistic children. The conversation lasts long enough for a little respite for them both and then it is off to the classroom activities for the daughter and the phones again for the hospital nurses.  

 

Not long after the text conversation with the daughter is a phone call from the middle son. He has just taken over as store manager for a Sears Department Store in Brunswick Georgia. It is his second day on his new job. He and his wife are suffering from the stress of a depreciating housing market and the difficulty in selling their home in Jacksonville Florida. The sale would allow relocating his wife and daughter to Brunswick which is over a hundred miles from Jacksonville. Without being able to completely resolve all his issues she must return to the nurses and providing care for the patients.

Not long after the conversation with the middle son is a phone call from the visiting daughter with the sound of our small guest laughing and playing in the background with a blow-by-blow description of the day she is missing with her grandchild on behalf of the hospital nurses.

 

Not long after the conversation with the visiting daughter comes a call from the youngest son. He is stressed over his upcoming weekend’s trip to Denver for his interview for a new job. He is a jet mechanic. His abbreviated title to the world is A&P, which stands for Airframe and Power plant mechanic. He is stressed that his girlfriend, who lives, you guessed it, in Denver, and he had an argument the night before and he is looking for the calming effect only his mother can provide. One more challenging telephone call completed and back to the nurses.

 

This day will not bring a call from the oldest son of our family because he is serving as a Major in the Marine Corp in Afghanistan. This is his third tour of duty in the 10 year old war. He and his wife and three little girls live in San Diego. He will, as I said, not be calling today. However, that does not absolve the mother of the story from worry about his condition or his safety. The day does not allow for too much consideration because the hospital still needs its nurses.  

 

Not long after all the chaos of the day is completed and she is home there is dinner for the household to provide. It will be nutritional and very good tasting because she is an excellent cook. Her cooking ability has developed over many years of providing these tasty meals for her family. Her cooking acumen has been honed and is still used for what she still feels is a house full of people. She is still cooking as though everyone is still at home. However, it makes for great left overs.  

 

The relationship’s she has with her grown children is not a relationship that is a given and granted to all. It is earned over a lifetime’s service to them all. It is earned through many, many hours of care, concern, counseling and worry about their decisions and choices. This has been a brief look at a current day in the life of this mother. The following is a look at what days gone by have been like to earn the relationships I just described. It is only an estimate.

 

Diapers - 70,000 – an average of 7,000 per year per child x 2 years

 

Bottles – 27,375 – an average of 5 bottles per day per child x 2.5 years

18,250 –an average of 5 bottles per day per child x 2 years

 

Naps – 7,300 – an average of 2 naps per day per child x 2 years

First Days of School – 78 first days of school from K-16, or, through college

 

Doctor Visits – School Visits (Counseling, Conferences, Take and Pickup)

 

Extracurricular Activities (Baseball, basketball, Football, Softball,

Track, Cheerleading, Clubs, Plays, PTA, Fund Raising Projects, etc.

Etc., Etc.)

 

Consecutive Years of Someone Being in High School = 17

 

Graduated from Post-Secondary Schools = 4

 

Currently Attempting to Complete = 1

 

This type of activity can only be driven by something more powerful than the human body can possibly have the energy for. The following bible verse closely approximates what I am referring to:

 

Romans 12: 9 – 13 – Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

 

As I said, the type of relationship she enjoys with her grown children and the involvement that represents from each of them is earned. It is exhausting. Now looking back from the north side of 60 I see this job of being a mother very differently than I did many years ago. She has danced and darted around these people like a honey bee pollinating everything in her path while she, I know, looks at my involvement in all of this like that of a home-breed, house-bound tom cat wandering around the neighborhood doing as he pleases.

 

The job and duties of a mother are, as I said earlier, exhausting. This is a look at one mother in the world of mothers. This is the mother in our family and I love her dearly. Tell your mother if you still can how much you love her and appreciate all she does and has done for you.

 

 The following poem was written with my beautiful bride in mind. I hope you enjoy it.

 

 

 

Motherhood

 

As I looked with joy at your spotless face

I knew the pain was worth the wait

I knew my life would never be the same

I knew I loved you more…

More than I had ever loved anything before

I knew the joy my mother once knew

I loved you because I was your mother

I knew a love like no other

As I watched your first staggered steps

I knew the floor was no longer for you

I knew my life would never be the same

I knew you would grow and find your balance one day

And I knew your need for me would then forever change

I knew the thoughts my mother once thought

I knew the things to you I had so diligently taught

I knew they would soon be a smaller part of what you knew

I knew these things because I was your mother

A love in life so much different from all others

As I watched you wave and were off to school

I knew the fears my mother once feared

How would you deal with the long days in school

Who would you find to be your friends

Who would help you when you needed the right thing to say

Who would love you as I had loved you

I knew these fears because I was your mother

Through a keen intuitive awareness like no other… I knew

I knew through the pain of watching you grow into adolescents

I loved you through pimples and pathway perils

I loved you through the drama of middle school

I loved you through the judgments of high school

I loved you as you were choosing your life’s mate

And I loved you when you were confused with your life’s direction

I loved you because I am your mother

I still love you today because you are a part of my soul

I love you now as my mother still loves me

And I now know how deep that love for me is

Because I am your mother as she is mine

Now the next step in life as a mother has come

I now love your children as I have always loved you

I now know what my mother knew

I know that your children make my life complete

I know this because I am your mother

And I see you in your children as my mother saw you

I know this because I too am now a grandmother

Still your one and only loving mother

Always linked by my love for you

Always loving you as my spotless faced child

I always will… because I am your mother

A love in life like no other

4/28/12

JMW

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At one time in my past I found myself a passenger on commercial jets more often than I ever thought I would. Something about sitting next to someone in the cabin of an aircraft brings out one of three alternatives: conversation, reading, or a need to sleep. My personal appetite most often was to read. Occasionally, however, I found the taste for conversation. Since my reading was largely historical subjects I found my conversations gravitated toward anything historical.

 

One flight found me sitting next to a native of the Commonwealth of Virginia. I noted, in my most historical reference I knew of Virginia, that Virginia was home to more of our nation’s Presidents than any other state. In fact, it was the home state of 4 or our first 5 Presidents and 7 or our first 12. All 7 of the past presidents served their terms in office before 1850. The only other Virginian serving as President, number 8 from the Commonwealth, was Woodrow Wilson, who held office during WWI.

 

I always found it odd that there were so many prior to the Civil War and only one afterward. My friend on the flight that day said something that struck me as so obvious. He said that the Civil War had taken most of the best and brightest as casualties of war, either by death or physical hardships. As a history buff I knew that 60% of the Civil War’s battles took place within the borders of the state of Virginia but never put the two features together as my traveler had been able to do. It made sense.

 

We have lost so many of our nation’s best and brightest in defense of it. The Civil War alone took more than 618,000 souls. Throughout our nation’s 235 year history the total cost of American lives lost to war exceed 1,315, 800. While that is a large number indeed, it pales in comparison with the world’s cost. The best, or most legible, figures available on world lives lost can be found at www.rationalrevolution.net. It tells a horrific story of great and tragic loss.

 

Why do I bring this up on Labor Day weekend at the outset of fall? I have no good reason other than it was pressing me. My love of history compels me to report what history has to say and those are the hard numbers of our cost of freedom here in The USA. How many great leaders have been lost you must ask yourself now. It is like looking at the finite number of seeds in an apple and counting them but never knowing how many trees, or future apples, lie hidden in the seeds you are able to count.

 

There is more to this story however. Now that we are in the right frame of mind, let’s look at another component to the loss of our best and brightest. I think I am safe in saying we have all heard the saying that the pen is mightier than the sword. How true that is now hits me like the Virginia Presidents issue did many years ago.

 

The US Supreme Court, on January, 22, 1973, in a vote of 7 to 2, set into motion a true national carnage. Over the next 37 years, only 37 years as of 2010, our nation lost, according to the Center for Disease Control, 49,551,703 lives at the hands of the 9 Justices’ pens and the signatures of many attending physicians around our country. Legal abortion had arrived with a seemingly insatiable appetite.

 

This new poem Nameless Numbers came from this thought. Enjoy it… if you can.

  

 

Nameless Numbers

 

In the wake of our wild-eyed Asian war

We memorialized our fallen on foreign fields

We commemorate their dutiful sacrifice

And the posthumous honor it wields

 

We commissioned a wall of remembrance

Made of provocative reflective marble

We wrote books and stories and worthy songs

All holding them as subjects to marvel

 

They are our lost generation

Their contributions to our land now deprived

Our loss we now pine as a painful scar

Of loved ones when they were alive

 

But our nation has another lost generation

That continues from that time to now

Not lost in war but by the words of a court

Leading to many regretfully furrowed brows

 

Now ten times the number lost on Asian fields

Our nations wound continues to bleed

Treating the lost as no more than a number

Leaving no honor to praise for the bereaved

 

The courts decided by a seven to two vote

Clouding the issues of one’s rights and what’s wrong

The nameless numbers continue to mount

Chronicled in a life decision that lasts far too long

 

No wall of remembrance or our nation’s honor bestowed

For the millions of our young now betrayed

We simply argue with slogans in our election cycles

While those who can’t argue are lost day after day after day

 

But if they could argue or cast a vote

They would surely reverse their plight

With words or votes or even weapons of war

The lost would surely lead an honorable fight

 

8/30/10

JMW

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Life takes us on many, many paths in life. Some are much  better and more memorable than others. They all, however, impact our life experience. My life is no different from yours in that regard. It is just more special to me.

My experience has found me as a permanent resident in Tucson, Arizona for four years in the early 1970’s. It was here I really discovered nature and the beauty around us. Near the end of my Arizona years I was around a communal living arrangement. There were teepees and livestock and communal chores and everything else that is going through your mind right now. It was here I met a gentleman on the Cottonwood River one evening at a campfire that changed the way I looked at things. We were talking about cameras to take in all the beauty around us and he said, “My camera is my mind. I don’t to take pictures.” Now I don’t have any idea what the man’s name was or if he has shared any of his picture with any one other than himself but I began taking pictures of my own with my mind.

With my camera now in tow my canvas was indeed broad. My life experiences now became much more than events. They became recordable events. We lived in the mountains and desert of Arizona, the coast line of Georgia in and around Savannah. We have worked in inner city ministries and with battered women’s shelters. All of these are remarkable locations and I absorbed them.

The next few poems are word pictures taken over the years with my camera. I hope you enjoy these moments of mine.

 

 

 Sunset Mountain

Ledge rocks loosen on your climb to the top

Leg weary climbers cling closely to their props

Conversations center on the beauty of their view

Your hope is no one falters, especially not you

Stillness defines this desert atmosphere

You’re very, very hot but very glad you’re here

The stillness is broken by the rocks when they fall

You hope as a climber is that the rocks are all that fall

Heartbeats are pounding in the heads of everyone

As you continue your climb in the broiling hot sun

The stillness now is broken by the call of a passing bird

Still the stillness is the loudest sound you have ever heard

Desert floor beauty is the picture now in view

A colorful poetic beauty framed by the sky’s bright hue

The rocks seem now more stable on the climb you’ll soon have made

It feels like no one has been to the point where you now lay

The top now is but a few short movements more

You know the topside feeling is truly the mountain’s lore

But this desert’s top-floor beauty is something so much more

Now from the top you realize you’ve never felt like this before

The sun slowly sets beyond the mountains on the floor

The cactus and the flowers seem more beautiful than before

But the stillness that surrounded you is now far into the past

For the sun sliding past the mountains caused a windy desert blast

Your fear of ledge rocks falling and you slipping from your place

And the quiet of the stillness, which you heard as a warm embrace

All have now been set aside and your thoughts of each replaced

By the warmth of awakened desert winds which hit you in the face

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Teaching is an honorable profession. The fabric of our society is held together by the threads woven and tied together by teachers. Seven and sometimes eight hours per day are spent with the youth of America by people we have entrusted their most precious assets to. They are taught the rudiments of how to properly maintain decorum and respect for others and themselves in social settings away from family. They are taught basic historical facts that travel with them sometimes to the highest mountain tops or the deepest depths of the seven seas or even to the surface of the moon. Good impactful teachers in our life are rarely forgotten. They can give students the spark to explore and learn or they can cast students into a world of personal doubt and a life of abiding in the ignorance they refuse to leave. Teachers make a difference.

The job of teaching is to provide information on one level and understanding on another. To know something is not truly the same as understanding something. Some students have an innate ability to know some things and regurgitate them at any time. Other students know some things but the understanding of it comes days, weeks, months, or even years later. There is always a balancing of information and understanding. Good teachers have the ability to create the understanding of the information simultaneously and those are the teachers we remember well past adolescence and into our retirement years. They stand far apart from the others as being someone who made an impact in our thinking.

The next poem was written while watching another teacher conduct her class in a middle school setting. It was a math class and it speaks to the job of a teacher, and the response by the student. Both have responsibilities in the class. One is to teach and the other is to be informed and understand the material. The balancing act is daily, persistent and relentless. This is what makes teaching, truly teaching, an honorable profession.

The Teacher’s Broom

Quiet stills the classroom air

As students work each with great care

To each in their own way today to prepare

For their work ahead…for the reason they’re there

The teacher scurries from the desk and about

Guiding the students away from their doubt

To stem their confusion and defuse their bout

With theories and axioms and what they’re about

Learning is difficult for some it is true

No matter the scurrying or what the teacher will do

The answer it seems is never in view

And for these students classrooms are always too blue

Learning is easy for the gifted few

They grasp concepts quickly and know what to do

To them the answers are always in view

And to these students classrooms are a beautiful hue

The teacher’s job in this mix in the room

Is to guide the bright and lead the slow from their gloom

To sweep the unknown with a teacher’s broom

To make the colors the same in every classroom

 

 

 

 

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The world of Special Education in our public school arena is one that few see. There is a special place for teachers of special needs students and our honor is owed to those who teach and serve in this environment. This poem is my first attempt to honor those like my daughter who has taught in this arena for 19 years.

 

Challenged Childhood

Emotions are sometimes hard to control

From the brightest beginnings

To the challenged life

And for any and all in between

But for some it is more of an issue

It is more difficult to focus

It is more difficult to transition activities

It is more difficult to understand consequences

It is more difficult to act appropriately

In almost any social situation

Outbursts

Refusal

Disobedience

Confusion

Are more a part of their life than the rest

These are the students at risk to fall

From success to far, far less

It takes a special hand wearing velvet gloves

To soften life’s daily frustrations

To clear their dimly lit reality

That they are the sound in the room

That they are the distraction for others

That they must find their peace

With their life’s thorn in the flesh

To find the acceptance they seek to receive

For them help is near

If they are able to hear

Through their disquieting screams

Through their daily fear

That we just can’t comprehend

Or Conceive

Let the velvet gloves touch

The lives in their path

And clear the obstacles

That hinder these challenged students way

 

JMW

7/30/14

 

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Wesley William Clark arrived into the world alive and kicking at 7:38 AM, April 14th, 2016. He was the 13th grandchild gifted by our 5 children. We have joyfully experienced these events and each hold separate and unique moments to savor as we grow older. However, what we experienced the day Wesley arrived home on Friday, April 15th, 2016, was a whole new unique in a world of unique events we have experienced.

 

Wesley has 2 siblings, Denny, a 4 years and 8 month old brother, and Nora, an 18 month old sister. Wesley’s dad took Denny to the Hospital to see his brand new little brother and to make sure mom was OK as well. Denny was well aware of what was happening and was anxious to see both Wesley and mom. However, Nora, at 18 months, didn’t understand the proceedings as clearly as her older brother. Her first encounter with Wesley was when he came home. This is where the birth of grandchild number 13 became unique.

 

Mom brought Wesley into the house as he slept in his new red infant car seat. She sat him in the middle, as best she could, of the family playroom floor for Denny and Nora to see him and get acquainted. While Denny was excited to see Wesley home, Nora was a little different story.

 

My wife, Micki, and I sat on a one step landing leading into the playroom. While we watched the events unfold we saw Nora standing stoically 2 feet from the filled red infant car seat pointing her right hand and her outstretched index finger, both attached to her outstretched arm, directly at the creature in her playroom floor. The pointing went on unabated for what seemed an eternity while we all watched. She stood pointing, doing her best to gain some clarity with her pointing finger, but was receiving none. Finally she turned to Memaw and Fuzzy, that’s us on the one step landing, stretched out her arms to both sides with her palms pointing upward, raised her shoulders and asked with her eyes, “Who the heck is THIS?”

 

The moment lasted equally as long as the pointing session which resumed when her long question to us had been inadequately answered. It was such a sweet moment of a child asking…no pleading… for an answer to her wordless question. The moment is now stamped indelibly for all time on our memory ledger. It was the most unique homecoming we have witnessed and goes into the unforgettable category.

 

Now 3 days later she has accepted the little creature as a welcomed guest. A guest who has had both mom’s and dad’s attention a little more often than she is comfortable with. She still has her familiar brother Denny to play with until Wesley is able to take his place in the family playroom floor as more than an unexpected guest.  

 

Unexpected House Guest

 

I woke up this morning

To my normal life

Out of bed, breakfast with Memaw

A few episodes of Bubble Guppies

Then my late morning nap

All was normal

Not long after I awoke from my nap

I think it was around 2:30

My mom brought a new red infant car seat

Into the house and sat it in my playroom

Next to my kitchen sink, my baby doll bed

All my other babies, and my stuffed animals

Soon I realized…

There was a baby in the car seat

But whose baby was it

Everybody seemed to be talking to me

Asking me what I thought about it

Well…I had no idea whose baby it was

I had no idea what all the fuss was about

There were lots of comments

As I tried to find the clarity and truth I deserved

I turned and asked Memaw and Fuzzy

They just smiled and acted like we all knew

I had no idea…and why was I not consulted

Who the heck is this baby

Now I’ve learned he has a bed upstairs

And he is staying with us

Disconcerting as it is

I suppose I will adjust

But I’m watching and waiting

To see who it really is

And who is responsible for this

 

4/18/16

JMW

 

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Book Excerpt - Pages 168 - 173 From - Moments of Mine (2009)

 

Many things have changed in our country since our founding fathers drafted the United States Constitution. There have been years or decades of little change and there have been others of great and dynamic change. I am sure that as you read this many such years or decades come to mind. When looking over the historical montage of time there is no period that glows more brightly than the years between 1955 and 1975.

The United States had just exited a tragically unpopular war which required the blood of many to spill without a true victory on the Korean peninsula. Our country was in the troughs of unprecedented growth and prosperity along with political influence around the globe. This period was driven by possibly the greatest generation of American citizens ever. These men and women grew up during the Great Depression of the 1930’s and later emerged a victor of the Second World War. This period saw the United States enter yet another unpopular war requiring more American lives which also ended with no clear victory in sight. However, as far as social issues go there was no more convulsive era in American history than this. Race relations, assignations, activism of all kinds, the military industrial complex and moral decay of ethics held by generations past were front and center for our nation and the world to watch unfold with the help of television. These events were seen live and in color. These were indeed turbulent times.

As I write these words president elect Barak Obama is 12 days away from taking the oath of office as our first black president. Our national change in race relations has never been more clearly seen. However, again, we find ourselves involved in an unpopular war with no clear victory in sight. Some things I guess never change.

The next few poems reflect my view of this period, and possibly yours as well, of issues which were prominently viewed.

 

 

Turbulent Times

 

The fifties and sixties

Of our last one hundred years

Posed precarious problems

For positions many held dear

 

You will give up your seat

We will all now share our fountains

Everyone can now vote

As we all climb Martin’s mountain

 

Young women were brazened and burned their bras

While young men were burning their cards

There were new pills to control a baby’s birth

And all the changes were much, much too hard

 

As the war in Asia was raging

And as too many cities were ignited

Proponents for the world’s transition

Were far too callously delighted

 

Camelot was ended too quickly

Their praises we did so loudly sing

A brother fell as a brother had fallen

And so did our nation’s black King

 

Two decades of change on such a grand scale

Is enough to make any nation fearful

The turmoil, the lootings and all the shootings

Is enough to make any nation tearful

 

Yes the fifties and sixties of our last one hundred years

Certainly changed our global perspective

But now looking back we all now can see

Our social rainbow is much more attractive

 

2/3/06

JMW

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The Road from Montgomery

 

Are we far from Montgomery

Have we put segregation in our past

Have we built a bridge of peace and understanding

Have we built a spirit that will truly last

 

Are we far from Montgomery

Have the buses equaled out

Have we really changed the seating order

Of those in Montgomery moving about

 

Are we far from Montgomery

What is the color of those we’ve jailed

Have we changed the social structure

Against which Montgomery once railed

 

Are we far from Montgomery

Is the racial tension still in the air

Have we opened doors of opportunity

Have we truly made things fair

 

Are we far from Montgomery

Have we truly, truly changed

Have the standards that we use today

Been so drastically rearranged

 

Are we far from Montgomery

Have we made progress toward the goal

Have the gunshots and tears

Changed the young one’s future roles

 

Are we really far from Montgomery

Have we all done the best we can

Have the leaders of the ones at risk

Taught the free man to be a man

 

4/27/04

JMW

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Useful Tragedy

 

Stop what you’re doing and just look around you. Look out the nearest window to your day. What do you see? Wherever you are it is, I assure you, a beautiful day. Why? Pinch yourself. If you feel it you are alive. If you can read this you are alive. If you can see outside through that window you are alive.

 

I think it’s funny how we forget how tenuous and fragile life is and how wonderfully and beautifully we are made. But still…we are fragile. We get sick, we get tired, sometimes we get our hearts broken, and we witness injustices’ to ourselves or others. No matter how strong we are or how resilient we are, we are fragile.

 

If we dwell on our fragility, however, we will find it hard to be assertive, or be a force for good. We will miss the golden opportunity to be a positive force for others.

 

Why do I say these things on such a glorious spring day? A member of our extended family was thrown by a horse while riding in Charlotte North Carolina on Easter Sunday and broke her back. She now lies in a rehab facility being administered to by professionals and family not knowing if she will walk again. That is a tough prognosis for a runner. We are fragile.

 

This spring season gives us a chance to rethink what we can do. What we can do for others in particular. My daughter-in-law’s sister is probably thinking of things undone while you read this. She will arise with a new vigor for being a helpful force for others as her family and friends are working so hard to be helpful to her.

 

Again, stop and look around you. We are blessed to be able to do whatever we wish whenever we wish to do it. I say all this as a reference point to reflect on a spring time poem called God’s Handyman. It gives us the opportunity to build better people who surround us daily. It gives us the opportunity to reflect on what we can do and what we can do that would mean the most to others. Enjoy the poem and please pray for my in-law once removed to recover fully for her husband and her two beautiful girls. Her name is Andrea and she and her family live in Jacksonville Florida.

 

 

God’s Handy Man

 

Carpenters, masons

And layers of tile

All with blueprints     

In easily found files

 

Hammers and nails

Screw drivers and screws

Are worn in their belt bags

On the jobs that they do

 

Tape measures and levels

Are all tools of their trade

They are the items they use

Making things they have made

 

We see them standing

As a house, office or school

Some rustic, some traditional

Some shine like a jewel

 

God sees them and smiles

Because of what they have done

They have worked long hours

Sometimes past the setting of the sun

 

But we all have a chance

To be a handy man for God

By giving His service

Our favorable nod

 

By building spiritual men

From a wretched heep

There is no earth driven post

Driven half as deep

 

Our tools are our words

Our actions and more

God’s handy man’s labor

Will open God’s Heavenly door

 

So open your tool belt

And hammer away

We are God’s handy men

Showing others the way

 

2/27/11

JMW

 

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Spring is Still Here

 

 

Again, I remind you, it is National Poetry Month. To a poet who enjoys sharing a life’s work it is an invitation to delve into the pages and find pieces with relevance to the season and to you the reader.

 

This poem again keeps close to the woods and wondering through the forests of the South. This particular piece has great meaning to me for many reasons. It is the first of a number of poems written in rapid succession regarding the theme of spring. It is a tribute to the daily rituals in the wild which keeps the wild life alive. It is relentless and rewarding when successful but sad when it ends poorly. Again I ask for you to smell the smells, touch the grass, touch the trees, smell the woods around you. Fell the moss and pine straw under your feet. Watch for falling branches caused by the wind as you walk. Most of all stay quiet and wait to see what happens on your journey today.

 

Another short introduction to a humble view of a spring in my mind’s eye. I hope it matches yours.

 

 

 Ethereal Forrest

 

Still surrounds the bird in his nest

After gathering food all day with great zest

He must arrive early to gather the best

For the bird, everyday, this is his test

 

The squirrel runs freely through the fern covered floor

Rustling grasses and foliage as he enters his door

His life is busy as he gathers his stores

So in winter his family has enough food and more

 

Standing as stone the deer listens and hears

Things both friendly and things to fear

Sometimes the sounds cause nothing but tears

To see a fallen friend when the smoke has cleared

 

Life in the Forrest is full of surprise

From the lack of rain to shadow’s lies

From the connection of family to lack of ties

From the assortment of enemies to great allies

 

The watershed canopy of the Forrest’s top

Sways side to side and seems never to stop

But gale force winds cause the sick to drop

Some crashing to the floor and some leaning on props

 

The magical mist with the morning breeze

Brings feelings of peace and prayerful ease

Even to life in nature with a fatal disease

As the squirrels and birds seem to play trapeze

 

3/24/11

JMW

 

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Spring

 

 

Today is April 9th, 2016 and the spring season has landed feet first in the middle of our daily lives. The trees are green, the flowers are blooming, the smell of a freshly cut lawn wafts into our sense of smell, and, yes, there is baseball.

 

Spring has always been my personal favorite season of the year. It has a way of awakening my body to the outdoors and all that entails. There are cookouts to both host and attend, there are things to be mended or painted, and there is a sense of a new beginning to the year although over a quarter of the way through. It brings to mind memories of bicycle rides through my childhood neighborhood, the knowledge that school would be over in another two months, and it reminds me of the smell and sounds of baseball.

 

It continues to be National Poetry Month and I continue to be hounded into supplying another piece of poetry with a spring theme. This one is more reminiscent of springs in Georgia with all the rumblings of life moving and surviving in the wild, in a Southern Forrest. It also reminds me of my youth, which is probably where it came from one afternoon a couple or so years ago. This is not a long introduction so settle in and see if this means anything to you. Can you hear the sounds, can you smell the smells, and can you feel the pine straw under your feet and actually hear it crack as you walk. Spring is made for walking in the woods and hearing the life all around us. It is made to begin the rest of the year the way you wish you had started January. New life, new beginnings, and the beginning of a whole new chapter in your life’s story. I will pray that you find what you seek as I hope you do the same for me. Enjoy this simple, small poem on spring. There will be another in a few days on the same theme.  

 

 

Spring Eternal

 

Jonquils and Jasmine

And the Bradford Pear

All blooming with beauty

Soothing much winter despair

 

Blue Birds and Cardinals

Hummingbirds and Wrens

Where were they all winter

Where have they all been

 

Cool air in the morning

Winter’s last attempt at dread

Fades to midday warmth

Putting winter to bed

 

Spring rains for the Dogwoods

And the corn in the field

Saying move on now winter

To me you must yield

 

This symphony is the same

With each spring season’s start

As we mere mortals who watch

Find it so pleasing to our heart

 

It is spring once again

With all our flowering dreams

The warm sunshine delivers

Wholesome heartwarming beams

 

3/13/11

JMW

 

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The Pacific Northwest

 

It has been twenty-seven months since we moved to the Seattle area. I have not done anything in the way of introducing those of you who have never been here to the area colloquially known at the Pacific Northwest. The PNW includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Northern California. It is mountainous, filled with wild life, beautiful trees, turbulent rivers, great vistas of the Cascades, the Olympics, and two beautiful, and thankfully, quiet volcanos. It is the most unique area I have ever been a part of. The rich Native American culture is all around to see and enjoy.

 

Music fans would love Seattle. It is the home of Pearl Jam, Sound Garden, Jimi Hendrix, Foo Fighters, Heart, Alice in Chains, Band of Horses, and many, many more. It continues to be a hotbed for musical entertainment and should be for a while.

 

Of course there are the Seattle Seahawks. These birds have captivated Seattle like no other team I have known of to capture their own city. It is very unique in that was as well.

 

The best and freshest seafood in the Western Hemisphere is located at Pikes Market on the water front as well as some of the greatest venues to eat said fish that you can find. It is unique.

 

I wanted to pay a bit of a tribute to the Pacific Northwest during National Poetry Month, April, and see what you think. We would love to have guests so set a date and introduce yourself to a culture like no other.

 

The pressure is on me so I hope I hit the mark with this piece called Come Enjoy.  

 

 

Come Enjoy….

 

Our Olympic and Cascade Mountain peaks

Are always white from the latest snowfall

As they reach majestically

And magnificently skyward

Come enjoy….

Our evergreens reach slenderly for the sun

With little to hinder their upward flight

They are aimed like arrows

Into the Northwest sky

Come enjoy….

Our Salmon make their annual up stream struggle

Guaranteeing their next generation

While our rivers fall with fishing Bears

And race towards the unsettling sea

Come enjoy….

Our Puget Sound teems with its sea life

With many fish, and seals, and whales

While birds of prey, and gulls, and singers

Fly effortlessly and gracefully sail

Come enjoy….

Our Cherry Trees bloom in early spring

With visitors from far reaching places

While our Tulip fields are filled with blooms as well

Creating many welcomed and smiling faces

Come enjoy….

Our western slopes are sharp as razors

Near our mighty Pacific coastline

While their faces tumble down

And fall toward the seashore tide

Come enjoy….

Our beach front buffet invites wildlife

To feast as long as they like

And for as long as they may

Without resistance from locals at hand

Come enjoy…

And through all the rest

There is our beacon Rainier

Reaching miles and miles

And seemingly always in view

Come enjoy…

Our Pacific Northwest is lovely

From our coastline

To our Eastern ranges

Our invitation to you

Is to visit, to live

And enjoy our beauty

Year after year after year

 

JMW

7/30/14

 

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Unfound

 

Many things lost are usually found. They can be found by one person, two people, or a group of people if need be, in the case of lost children, missing persons of all kinds, and even precious gems. However, sometimes they remain in the unfound category. It is claimed that the items or persons were just nowhere to be found. We accept this as a condition of the search usually. The police didn’t look long enough. The volunteers didn’t look close enough. Whatever the excuse we assign the unsuccessful search we accept as genuine.

 

We enter Palm Sunday weekend 2015 with a historic search still underway. Of all the magnificent events of Jesus’ life and ministry this final event was the pivotal event in world history. It seems that neither a Roman Legion nor a frantic Sanhedrin could successfully locate the body of Jesus when His tomb was found empty. The guards of the tomb couldn’t say because they had been sleeping or cast into some blind spell so that a huge round stone sealing the tomb was able to roll quietly from the entrance of the tomb clearing a path for the exit of Jesus. This was to be the final resting place for the King of The Jews. The sign on His crucifixion cross clearly declared Him as such. His kingship was declared in not one, not two, but in three different languages, Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. The world gathered for the Passover Feast in Jerusalem was to know who hung from the middle of three crosses on the hill called Golgotha. They were to know His Royalty was self-fabricated for his own benefit and self-absorption. Still, where was the body of this Jesus of Nazareth? Why was the powers of two separate and powerful forces unable to locate the body of this King of The Jews?

 

Meanwhile, Mary Magdalene, on the first day of the week, was privileged to see Him and report His risen body to the disciples. They were not convinced. Jesus actually appeared to two of the disciples on their way into the country who did not believe Mary’s story. Then He visited the eleven while they reclined at a table during mealtime. Jesus reproached them for their unbelief of those who had told of seeing Him. Jesus seemed to be all over the territory without being found because he always appeared as someone other than Himself. When asked by the disciples not long before in Galilee what was their work to be, Jesus said “believe in Him whom He has sent.” This all became a thundering reality, crashing into the room with the discovery that He was who He said He was. The risen unfound body of Jesus the Christ was alive as prophesied so many times by the Old Testament prophets and by Jesus Himself. He was alive. He had risen on the third day just as He predicted. He was in the room with his most trusted and beloved companions who did not believe of His resurrection until confronted by Him in this upper room. Their proof was standing among them. He could not be denied.

 

The unfound body was just one thing separating Jesus from all others claiming deity. There are 14 other reasons that give His life even more definitive reality to us today. The disciples were given their assignment at the end of Matthew’s account of the gospels with their discharge into service by Jesus Himself. Matthew 28:18-20 reads, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on Earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

 

How the Apostles died tells us a story of graphic belief as Jesus suggested for them to demonstrate while with them in Galilee. Look at how their lives ended:

 

1)   Matthew was slain with a sword in Ethiopia

2)   James, son of Zebedee was beheaded at Jerusalem

3)   James, brother to the Lord, was thrown from the pinnacle of the Phrygia

4)   Bartholomew was flayed alive at Albahapolis, in Armenia

5)   Andrew was martyred on a cross at Patre, in Archaia

6)   Thomas was killed with a lance at Coromanded, in East Indies

7)   Thaddeus was shot to death with arrows

8)   Simon Zelotes was crucified in Persia

9)   Peter was crucified head downward

10 Matthias was stoned, then beheaded

11 Paul was beheaded in Rome

12 Judas hanged himself after his betrayal of Jesus

13 John, the care taker of Jesus’s mother died of natural causes

 

Why do the Apostles deaths make a profound statement to the risen Jesus? Because all they had to do to live was deny the truth of what they had seen with their own eyes. He feed the hungry, healed the sick, raised the dead, and on the third day after his passing, as he said He would, He arose from the dead, appeared to them all, and spoke of what they were to do from that point forward in the face of religious zealots out to destroy them or change their story.

 

An empty tomb and the deaths of the disciples are hard to refute or debate. Sometimes the unfound is found in the most obvious places – in our hearts.

 

 

The Empty Tomb

 

Passion Week and Passover were over

Three men had breathed their last

The earth had shaken and shocked

Those watching in either horror or awe

The Temple vail was torn, the way now clear

The world would never be the same

Tears were shed

A mother was led

From her horror to a safer place

Her Son was taken by a Jewish friend

Ally to Romans and to Jews alike

He placed her Son in an unused tomb

Guarded day and night to prevent removal

King of the Jews

Son of God

Prince of Peace

Would not leave without permission

If he were taken they could say

“He left on His own”

To fulfill His resurrection prophesy

They stood day and night and vigilantly guarded

The entrance to this doorway of hope

They would devotedly do their duty or die

But on the third day the guards

Were relieved of their task

The stone door was rolled free

The Son of man had arisen and left

Through powerful Godly and angelic authority

He left the tomb empty of its stored remains

Save the now folded garments worn to His passing

But with the tomb’s open door

The world had hope and a portal to peace

Three crosses, three days, the Holy Trinity reunited

The world would never be the same

The empty tomb screams loud and clear

Jesus the Son did not disappear

Jesus arose to hide our sins and our fears

Many things from His ministry

Speak directly to this new world’s beginning

But none more directly than this empty tomb

Vigilantly guarded by Rome’s military might

Empty to the stunned Jewish chief priests and elders

The clarion sound of quiet hope echoed in the prophecies of Judaism

Now wafted from the door of an empty tomb

No remains were found nor confederates bound

On this day when the tomb was found bare

Nothing was found by the Romans or the Jews

But the sound of the world changing from oppressiveness to hope

It is empty, He is risen, make a joyful cry to the Lord

We are now all saved, delivered, protected by invitation

From the cruelty of a sinless life’s punishment by His love for us all

 

12/09/14

 JMW

 

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This entry is a little different from all the others over the past 12 years of this blog. This lead piece nor the attached link to a story that I could never conjure myself are not written by me. They are, one funny, and, the other very thought provoking. I wanted to do this for a friend who emailed the attachment link to me a few days ago and I just had to share it with you kink folks who continue to read my blog. The link follows a piece from a familiar American author - Mark Twain. I am in good company now. The link describes something that transcends our simple, self-centered lives. It resonated with me due to my oldest son graduating from the United States Naval Academy and the possibility that this was something he encountered as well. Enjoy the humor and the link.

 

 

A Philadelphian Committed Suicide And Left The Following Note:

 

            I married a widow with a grown daughter. My father fell in love with my step-daughter and married her – thus becoming my son-in-law, and my step-daughter became my mother because she was my father’s wife.

            My wife gave birth to a son, who was, of course, my father’s brother-in-law, and also my uncle for he was the brother of my step-mother.

            My father’s wife became the mother of a son, who was, of course, my brother, and also my grand-child for he was the son of my daughter.

            Accordingly, my wife was my grandmother because she was my mother’s mother – I was my wife’s husband and grandchild at the same time – and, as the husband of a person’s grandmother is his grandfather – I AM MY OWN GRANDFATHER!

 

Mark Twain

 

Don't underestimate anyone …

http://usoonpatrol.org/archives/2010/09/07/leadership-and-the-janitor

Benign is a small word. But when used in conjunction with a health threat it becomes larger than life. It was a word that was given me after an innocuous neck surgery and biopsy. Eight days later I received the word from the surgeon’s office with great relief. I was not ready for the alternative. I had been there before as part of a strange health history over a six year period. It would be hard to explain them all in this small space. Let’s just say I was happy.

 

What would I do with the rest of my life if the news were not as it was? Many alternatives would be available but which would I chose? One girl named Julie Martin used what time she had left to be a force of strength to many AIDS patients throughout our nation. Her message was simple and resonated with her audience wherever she went. Don’t have casual sex with others so freely – it might be the death of you. She was a remarkable woman. She had overcome her bad news with good news to others.

 

What would you do?

 

____________

 

 

Nothing in life is more impactful than the actual loss of it.

Death is final. There is at that point nothing you can do to improve on your character or persuade others to improve theirs. It is finished.

Occasionally there is a life you encounter that is simply a force to behold. Mine was a girl named Julie.

There was a time in our past when we felt impervious to disease, disaster or any number of harmful things. Our nation was the same. In our past there was a time when casual sex could sometimes lead to a variety of socially unacceptable diseases that, while treatable, were still very embarrassing. Then in the early 1980’s there surfaced an issue called Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome better known as AIDS. It was a call to be aware of actions and decisions we make. It was a very frightening time for everyone. It was a time of tragedy for many, many people. The death toll due to AIDS at this writing is a worldwide total nearing 22 million people. It was the end of Julie in 1995.

She had married and settled into a nice life with her husband when she discovered that one of her casual events of her past had provided for more than she had bargained for. He had been infected with AIDS and now she was to. Her life had been unalterably changed by the event. Her consequences were many. She left her husband rather than threaten his life with the disease. Her family, with the exception of her mother, backed away from her. She left the church. Her consequences were many indeed.

However, rather than feel sorry for herself she spent the last few years of her life talking with groups all over the country about the consequences of an evening of fun. This was her job. She traveled with several other young adults spreading this message in a very powerful way. She had impact and made a lasting impression on any and all who heard her words.

I met her through her mom and visited her in the hospital during her last few weeks. This leads me back to the first sentence that nothing in life is more impactful than the loss of it. I had the pleasure of attending her funeral. Her friends she met across the country through her speaking engagements showed up to say good-bye in their own special way. Then we released white helium filled balloons in her memory. It was very impactful to me then and is now as I think of her. She was a strong force.

 

Julie’s Day

A voice fell silent today

And the world

Is less

Her many friends

Will say

 

A voice of true strength

Has fallen this day

Yet her message continues

By what her friends

Will say

 

A voice of determination

We honor today

Of committed persistence

Of this voice

Will say

We illuminate and celebrate   

This voice here today

The paths she made straight

By what she had to say

Now we stand in the sun

On this late winter’s day

And remember the voice

In our own special way

 

We each look upward

To the clouds in the sky

As we release our memories

Of her voice

And they fly….

________________________________________________________________________ 

This entry is a little different from all the others over the past 12 years of this blog. This lead piece nor the attached link to a story that I could never conjure myself are not written by me. They are, one funny, and, the other very thought provoking. I wanted to do this for a friend who emailed the attachment link to me a few days ago and I just had to share it with you kink folks who continue to read my blog. The link follows a piece from a familiar American author - Mark Twain. I am in good company now. The link describes something that transcends our simple, self-centered lives. It resonated with me due to my oldest son graduating from the United States Naval Academy and the possibility that this was something he encountered as well. Enjoy the humor and the link.

 

 

A Philadelphian Committed Suicide And Left The Following Note:

 

            I married a widow with a grown daughter. My father fell in love with my step-daughter and married her – thus becoming my son-in-law, and my step-daughter became my mother because she was my father’s wife.

            My wife gave birth to a son, who was, of course, my father’s brother-in-law, and also my uncle for he was the brother of my step-mother.

            My father’s wife became the mother of a son, who was, of course, my brother, and also my grand-child for he was the son of my daughter.

            Accordingly, my wife was my grandmother because she was my mother’s mother – I was my wife’s husband and grandchild at the same time – and, as the husband of a person’s grandmother is his grandfather – I AM MY OWN GRANDFATHER!

 

Mark Twain

 

Don't underestimate anyone …

http://usoonpatrol.org/archives/2010/09/07/leadership-and-the-janitor

________________________________

It is the 17th of March, 2016 – St. Patrick’s Day. How we got here so fast I will never know. I wanted to share a piece written during the 2004 election cycle between George W. Bush and John Kerry. It seems only a few weeks ago. However, much has changed. Many lives have been spent in the sands of the Middle East. Many tears have been shed for their loss. We have suffered financially as a nation and, more importantly, in our homes. We have been through the distasteful election cycles of 2008 and 2012 and continue to reel as a result. But, here we are at the outset of another bitterly contested Presidential election cycle and we face the same divisive rhetoric as we have since…well…I can’t put a finger on when things changed but I’ll bet you have a particular election in mind that it did. The poem below is just a comment of mine on things that are and things that should change. I have put this out into the world before…it is not new. It is, however, still an issue we need to address before we can move forward as a nation, as a people, and as individuals. Enjoy the poem and pass it along if you agree with the sentiment it explores.

 

 

Hues of Reds and Blues

 

The national pitch of politics

Bodes ill for the times to come

Some residing in the blue states

While the reds are home to some

 

There is evil in the banter

So much hostility in the tone

I fear the opposing viewpoints

Will leave America all alone

 

We must recognize the differences

In what hue each state takes

Is controlled by the disposition

Of the statements politicians make

 

Tone down the seething rhetoric

For what the other states believe

If an amicable coexistence

Is what we from this point receive

 

We all call ourselves Americans

Under one flag we all now live

But if that is to continue

We must all learn how to forgive

 

3/3/05

JMW


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